NBA Trade Rumors: Raptors Want to Bring Back Spurs' Jakob Poeltl as Bulls Monitor

Adam WellsDecember 15, 2022

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on November 17, 2022 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

As the San Antonio Spurs continue their plummet down the standings, Jakob Poeltl's future with the franchise is going to be a hot topic leading up to the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

Per Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer, the Toronto Raptors have interest in bringing Poeltl back after trading him to the Spurs in 2018 as part of the Kawhi Leonard deal.

Fischer noted the Chicago Bulls had internal conversations about the 27-year-old center prior to last season's trade deadline, and rival teams are "closely monitoring" them as a potential seller.

The Spurs are in a potentially tricky spot with Poeltl. He's only 27 and is one of the few bright spots on their roster right now, but this is also the final season of his current contract.

According to Fischer, Poeltl will "strongly consider" re-signing with San Antonio if he doesn't get moved before the trade deadline.

One potential issue the Spurs face, however, is what Poeltl might command on his next contract. Fischer noted a poll of league executives pegged his upcoming contract valuation between $15 and $25 million per season, with the high end of that projection potentially being more expensive than a rebuilding team might want to pay.

The Raptors are trying to find a spark amid a 13-15 start and need help at center. Christian Koloko has been their primary starter at the position, but he's only averaging 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Poeltl spent the first two seasons of his career in Toronto. He was drafted with the No. 9 overall pick by the Raptors in 2016. The seven-year veteran is averaging 12.9 points and 9.9 rebounds in 20 starts this season for the Spurs.

The Bulls are another team that had designs on making the playoffs in desperate need of help. They are 6-12 in their last 18 games and have fallen to 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

Nikola Vuçević, the Bulls' current starting center, is in the final season of his contract. They could potentially flip him to a team that needs help at the five and bring in Poeltl, who is five years younger than Vuçević.

The Spurs seem like a team that should go all-in on trading veteran players to acquire more long-term assets. They have lost 17 of their last 21 games and own the worst record in the Western Conference (9-19).